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Understanding the Intent to Register Process

Around this time of the year, many families are faced with the dilemma of choosing a college and committing to it by making the required deposit by May 1st (Note that some colleges extended their deadlines due to Covid-19). However, this can be a hard decision when (a) you have multiple colleges to choose from, and (b) when you are waitlisted at a college that you like even more. This is when the temptation to double deposit presents itself.


Double depositing is the act of accepting admission to more than one college by paying the deposit and securing your spot.


While it can be tempting to buy more time or to just delay the decision-making process, there are many reasons for you NOT to double deposit. The primary one is that you signed a pledge in the Common App that said, “I affirm that I will send an enrollment deposit (or equivalent) to only one institution; sending multiple deposits (or equivalent) may result in the withdrawal of my admission offers from all institutions.” And every Intent to Register form will have a similar statement you are agreeing to.


Additionally, colleges, after they receive your deposit, are assured that you are definitely planning to join in the fall. You are now a part of the student body, and the college starts sending you details about the onboarding process. Colleges work hard to ensure good yields and to create a diverse student body. Between May 1st and late August, there is considerable logistical, clerical and financial juggling that a college goes through to prepare for your arrival. Also, when you bail after accepting, it creates a cascading effect for the college, and they literally have to start from ground zero with another student at a much later stage in the process.


We know there is a temptation to hold two spots while you decide the college of your choice. It isn’t made easier when you hear from an older friend who double deposited and did not face any consequences. However, it is on you to make the right decision and to not take a spot away from another deserving student. Choosing to submit your deposit to multiple schools is unethical. 


Additionally, your high school counselor has to operate within the ethical confines of their job, and they cannot (and should not) send your final transcript to more than one college. You can get in serious trouble if the school counselor ends up notifying one or both colleges about your double deposit. Or the colleges may find out through other channels. At this stage, both colleges may rescind their admission.


If you are completely unable to make up your mind, there are a few things you can do:

Go back to the original reason you choose the college. What was the appeal that made you apply there? If you cannot make a physical visit, do multiple virtual tours, speak to an admissions counselor, go through the class catalogue and chart your classes for your expected major, speak to an alum, watch videos, and of course, consult with your Insight counselor. Make a deposit by May 1st with confidence and certainty after you have done all the required research and soul searching.


If you are waitlisted at a college that comes through later in June or July, and if you prefer to attend that college, then you can call the admissions office at the school you have accepted and talk to an admissions counselor to see if they have a protocol in place for you to withdraw your acceptance. All colleges will have a different process, and you will lose your deposit for sure, but that’s a small price to pay when you gain the opportunity to attend the college that is your first choice.


Read more: Waitlisted – What Can I Do?


This is admittedly a difficult time; however, it all turns out for the best in the end. While it is difficult to make a choice, once you do, you and your family can celebrate the end of this part of the journey and look forward to the next chapter in your lives!


Please contact us at info@insight-education.net if you have questions regarding decision making, waitlists, appeals, and more.


Good luck!

Priya and The Insight Team


Written by Priya Singh

This article is written by Insight College Admissions Counselor Priya Singh.

Priya Singh is a College Admissions Counselor and also an avid yogi. She often uses yoga and meditation to help students with learning and stress management during the college admissions process. Since 2014, she has helped many high school students, including students with learning disabilities, to reach their best-fit schools. Read her full bio here.

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